Jephson, Arthur Jeremy Mounteney (DNB12)

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JEPHSON, ARTHUR JERMY MOUNTENEY (1858–1908), African traveller, born at Hutton Rectory, Brentwood, Essex, on 8 Oct. 1858, was fifth and youngest son of John Mounteney Jephson, vicar of Childerditch, Essex, and Ellen, daughter of Isaac Jermy, of Stanfield Hill, Norfolk [q. v.]. He was educated at Tonbridge School (1869–74) and on H.M.S. Worcester (1874–76). In 1880 he joined the Antrim regiment of the royal Irish rifles, but resigned his commission in 1884. At the desire of his friend, Helena Comtesse de Noailles, he joined [Sir] Henry Morton Stanley's [q. v. Suppl. II] expedition for the relief of Emin Pasha. Leaving Europe in 1887, Stanley and he travelled up the Congo, and left the ill-fated rear-guard at Yambuya on the Aruwimi on 28 June. Jephson accompanied Stanley on the difficult journey through the forests to Lake Albert, and in April 1888 he was despatched over the lake to find Emin. He brought Emin to Stanley at the end of the month. With Emin, at Stanley's and the Pasha's request, he travelled through Emin's equatorial province, and in accordance with instructions, offered to guide all inhabitants who wished to follow Emin and himself out of the province by way of Zanzibar to Egypt. The proposal for the evacuation of the province met with opposition from the people, and Jephson was engaged for nine months with Emin in resisting their rebeUion. Both were imprisoned at Dufile in August 1888. In October the Mahdists came down upon the province, and at the beginning of December, on the news of their successes in the north, the native soldiers at Dufile besought Emin to lead them in retreat. Emin's own unwillingness to quit the province, the affairs of which were in great confusion, added to Jephson's difficulties. The council of native rebel officers at Wadelai condemned both Emin and Jephson to death, but early in February 1889 he succeeded in rejoining Stanley at Kavali, and subsequently they managed to rescue Emin. Returning to England in 1890, Jephson became a queen's messenger in 1895 and held a similar post under King Edward VII (1901).

He was awarded a medal by the Royal Geographical Society of London in 1890 and a diploma by that at Brussels in the same year.

He died on 22 Oct. 1908 at Sunninghill, Ascot, and was buried there. He married in 1904 Anna, daughter of Addison Head of San Francisco, and left one son. Jephson told the story of his part in the relief expedition in 'Emin Pasha and the Rebellion at the Equator' (1890; German tr.- Leipzig, 1890; French tr. Paris, 1891). He collected a number of native folk-tales, and admirably presented them in 'Stories told in an African Forest by Grown-up Children of Africa' (1893). He also wrote 'The Story of a Billiard Ball' (1897).

[Geogr. Journ. xxxii. 630; The Times 23 Oct. 1908; Jephson's Emin Pasha, 1890; Sir H. M. Stanley's Autobiography, 1909, and In Darkest Africa, 1890; private information.]

O. J. R. H.